Thus far, the biggest hitch in the development of commercially feasible and consumer-friendly robots is not the robotic devices themselves, but the artificial intelligence that manages their activities and communicates with their users and managers.
Andrew Ng, an Associate Professor at Stanford U's AI Lab, made a wonderfully illuminating 16-minute video about the problems and progress of AI and robotics relevant to this discussion. It's worth your time to watch it:
Ng's frustrations from the past - which he describes in the final moments of the video - are shared by all of us. However, his renewed optimism for the future offers needed insight into the problems of the past and the potential for the future. Since he's confident about the future of AI and robotics, we can feel some level of hope that at least Stanford U is likely to provide rapid movement toward what has heretofore been a serious stumbling block for robotics.